I am over the moon about my latest quilt finish. As you may or may not know, I also make a lot of custom quilts for other people as a means for my income. Most of these quilts are memory quilts.
Just in case you are unaware, a memory quilt is a quilt made with the clothing of a loved one. This clothing may be of someone happy and living and just a reminder of a time in their life such as babyhood, school age, college age, all those concert or maybe vacation tshirts you purchased or in can be made with clothing of someone you loved that has passed.
The quilt I’ll be talking about today is a custom order for someone who wanted a quilt made with her father’s clothing that has passed away.
I truly believe this is a beautiful way of not only remembering someone that you love, but also working through your grief and using the clothing that usually fills up dresser drawers and closets.
I’ve said several times this year, that my own grandmother passed away last December. She had no living daughters to handle the cleaning up and clearing out of her house, so this task fell to her granddaughters. My cousin and I did just that. We went through every drawer and every closet. There were many pieces of clothing that went into a box for quilt making, other pieces I wanted to keep for myself (I’ve got several sweaters of my grandma’s that I know will make me think of her this winter), and still other pieces ended up gifted to charity. This task in itself is a way to deal with your grief or so that’s how it felt to me.
The Good Girl Quilt
I am of the mind that I can make any quilt I want to with clothing, BUT there is some types of clothing I don’t want to deal with. With tshirts and pieces that are stretchy and made of knit, I have to back each one of those pieces with interfacing. It’s completely possible and I do so several times of year for other people, but it’s certainly not the most pleasing way. Interfacing is irritating, sewing tshirts is irritating. All of it. But sewing with clothing that resembles quilting cotton is the opposite.
For this particular quilt, I was given a box of men’s dress shirts.
Men’s dress shirts are the PERFECT substitute for quilting cotton. Dress shirts are wrinkle resistant and just a tad thinner (most of the time).
I go through each shirt and with a rotary cutter ridding the piece of all buttons and seams and anything else that gets in my way. I’m left with funky shaped pieces of fabric and from there I just cut the shapes and sizes I need.
Custom Quilt Labels
It’s a lot more simple than you may think. I paired these particular shirts with low volume fabrics and made my Little Miss Sawtooth quilt for the third time.
If you plan on doing this yourself just know that the cutting will take a bit more time than usual. Everything else is the same.
Like I mentioned before, I have a big box of clothing that belonged to my grandmother that I plan on turning into quilts. Instead of the type of clothing shown in this quilt, I chose things like nightgowns, very soft pieces. Those wouldn’t work well for this quilt, so my plan is to make rag quilts with them instead. In rag quilts, you can use pretty much any type of clothing and you don’t need interfacing. They are much quicker to make too. When I get them completed, I’ll definitely show you.
- Thread used: Quilt+ darker khaki in the neutral box
- Batting used: Warm & Natural
- Binding: Joel Dewberry’s Pyramids in Pink from Atrium
- Custom Inquiry: Purchase a quilt like this one
Dori Johns says
Beautiful, beautiful quilt! I can’t even imagine how much joy it will bring to the recipient. After my own father passed, I helped my mom sort through my dad’s clothing. Oh, how I wish I had kept a box of his shirts! Thank you for sharing this post. God bless. 🙂
Thanks, Dori! I know it will be loved. ?
That is a beautiful quilt. I made a shirt quilt for my son a few years ago, quite amazing how much fabric you can get from a shirt.
Thank you! I really enjoyed making it. ?
I’m so glad I found you first on Instagram and now via your newsletter. The reason I got into quilting a few years ago was my motivation to make a memory quilt. I had tried to find someone to make it for me and when that failed, I committed to learning how to quilt and doing it myself – once I’m good enough to start slicing up my late mom’s clothes. At the time when I chose some of her clothes to keep, I didn’t know that I would need quilting or similar cotton. I would love to hear more about how to use her non-quilting cotton clothes for a rag quilt given your advice above. Thanks again and I have a feeling I’ll be a frequent viewer of your tutorials. And I hope to purchase some of your fabric bundles soon too!